Having kittens over wedding dance

My fiance Nick's dream wedding was going on a hike with a bunch of friends and family and then having a party in a mountain village.

I had many problems with this: How was I going to wear a wedding dress on a hike? How could our grandmothers join in? What if someone broke a leg on the way down? No, really his plan was not practical.

We agreed on a more traditional yet simple option. Our ceremony and party would take place in a little restaurant by the sea in my home town. There would be no intricate flower arrangements, no invitations, and he wouldn't wear a tie.

But Nick was keen to keep one tradition - the first dance. Given our natural talents, this meant lessons.

Learning to dance made me nervous, especially a dance where you have to switch partners every two minutes. Besides, I've never been able to co-ordinate my body to music.

Nick was upbeat though: He found a style (Ceroc), a school and enough motivation to drag me to the first lesson.

On that night it was cold and raining and I was tired.

"I think I need a nap," I said 10 minutes before it was time to go, and slipped into bed.

"Maybe this isn't the right night."

This was eight weeks before the wedding.

"We're going tonight," Nick said.

We arrived at the Selwyn social club to find rows of middle-aged men and women. Some of the women wore glittering dresses; some of the men wore shoes with a heel. They were ready to rock their bodies. Nick started signing up for the "six-for-three lessons" starting offer.

I dragged him out of the room.

"What if we don't like it?"

He did not want to give us a chance to chicken out - he went back inside to pay for the six lessons.

I contemplated an escape. Maybe I was nervous about the dancing classes the way I was nervous about the wedding? Maybe it made it all too real and parts of me were terrified and wanted to run away?

The music started and it soon appeared that the dancing we had signed up for was sexist.

The rules are simple and may not be broken: The man leads, the lady follows.

On the stage, the teacher said: "Your lady doesn't want to be driven like a tractor. She's a Ferrari."

This made me want to scream with feminist rage but then I realised the teacher was being ironic and I'd had one of my traditional sense-of-humour failures.

"It's easy for the ladies, they don't have to think about anything. While you spin around, ladies, just giggle and think of kittens. Men, laugh deeply and think of tractors," he said.

Jokes asides, it was true. Ceroc was easy. All I had to do was walk in and out, sometimes to the side, and spin a lot. By the end of the class, Nick and I were grinning as we managed to master our first moves.

Would it have been better if we were both into hiking weddings? Maybe. But I like it that we open each other's horizons to new things. And I'm still a feminist: I will laugh deeply and think of tractors as I spin around at our wedding party.

*That is not Nick and I pictured, although we are working towards that level of skill!

The Press